Knowledge creation

Growing our evidence base

Knowledge creation artwork

Our collaborative research projects support our core purpose to build stronger evidence for stronger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities.

Together with our partners, we’re growing our knowledge base to drive positive outcomes in policy, practice and community.


In partnership with CAGES Foundation and Dr Paul Gray from the University of Technology Sydney, QATSICPP has established a research project to bring together multiple streams of practice to create a new discipline to enable effective strategies and systems to support our work. Synthesizing the knowledge between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child and Family Support, Rights Based approaches and the Trauma and Healing literature we will formulate an integrated evidence base.

A meta synthesis will bring together these knowledge systems and will enable us to identify the common elements that are required for lasting change. Ultimately our aim is to create the right evidence base for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Family Support, changing the paradigm from a focus on child protection alone.

Building better evidence and findings 

Led by a group of eminent Chief Investigators we will:

  • Create a strong evidence base that can be utilised to support changing the lives of the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children – improving their wellbeing and breaking the cycle of intergenerational trauma
  • Enable QATSICPP to create a strategic research agenda, with the ability to continue to build on the preliminary findings over time
  • Enable practice wisdom to be integrated with peer reviewed publications and multi-disciplinary schools of thought creating the conditions for excellence and support practitioners in continuing to deliver change based on evidence
  • Provide the foundations of an evaluation framework that can be applied within all ongoing evaluation commissioned to continue grow the evidence base

ANROWS Project

Our First Nations children unfortunately experience high rates of domestic and family violence and are overrepresented in child protection systems in Australia. The long history of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that commenced with colonisation, the effects of which are still being felt today, significantly contributes to these outcomes. Policies intended to respond to these harms, improve wellbeing, and enhance safety, instead continue to cause harm, rarely providing culturally safe, well-resourced and trauma informed solutions.

This is the second of two reports from the project, Service system responses and culturally designed practice frameworks to address the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children exposed to domestic and family violence. The project used culturally safe, participatory action research methods with First Nations community members in eight regional and remote locations across Queensland to generate new knowledge about what works for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who have both experienced domestic and family violence and had contact with the child protection system. The first report from this project, New ways for our families explored existing literature and presented the findings from the first action research cycles. The final report, You can’t pour from an empty cup presents the findings, conclusions and recommendations from the final rounds of action research.

Significantly, our community researchers found that experiencing domestic and family violence negatively impacted childhoods, behaviours and the ability to form healthy relationships as adults. Harms were carried forward into adulthood as these children and young people became parents and moved through systems. As a result many experienced child protection responses that used oppressive and controlling techniques and this increased distress. Research participants identified that there was a lack of focus on providing healing and support services for children and young people who experienced DFV and that service providers were often ill equipped to respond effectively to trauma.

This research provides an understanding of how services and systems including health and education can better hear from and respond to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people who experience domestic and family violence. While conducting the research, and as a result of the initial findings which revealed the depth of cultural knowledge and community led solutions, the research team made the decision to also develop a culturally strong practice framework to guide policymakers and practitioners. The framework, Healing our children and young people: A framework to address the impacts of domestic and family violence is available on the knowledge sharing section of this website.

Building better evidence and outcomes 

Key findings will underpin the development of a best practice framework and models for prevention and early intervention practices to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people who have experienced DFV.

Delegated Authority Action Research

This three-part action research project aims to engage in reflection and gain a deeper understanding of what works the implementation of Delegated Authority in Queensland. Delegated authority is the delegation of function and powers from Chief Executive (Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs (DCYJMCA)) to the Chief Executive Officer of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander entity in relation to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Early adopter organisations alongside Departmental staff will contribute to developing reflection questions and participate in cycles of action research that will be documented throughout the process. To ensure the delegation authority’s success, the project will engage the state-wide coordinating group. The voices of families and children and young people will also be sought through appropriate processes. Professor Daryl Higgins from the Institute of Child Protection Studies act as critical friend to aid additional thought leadership and the knowledge, identification and development of reflection questions. Reports will be produced to document insights and learnings.

Building better evidence and outcomes 

The key evaluation questions will assist organisations to develop their own monitoring and evaluation framework including critical outcomes development of tools and frameworks to support implementation and replication of the Delegated Authority at local and state-wide levels.

Scoping Study

This scoping review is to establish a metasynthesis of fields of evidence which would assist us in establishing a robust Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child protection evidence base for the Centre of Excellence. The purpose of a metasynthesis is to identify the current evidence base for policy, program and practice in promoting the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and support of their families and communities; and inform priorities for ongoing research.

Building better evidence and outcomes 

The scoping review is to examine the evidence available, across contributing knowledge bases including rights-based approaches, trauma and healing and child protection; identify knowledge gaps; and inform the perimeters and scope of a metasynthesis.

Evaluation Frameworks

This project is designed to ensure culturally safe and strong evaluations are undertaken, commissioned and supported for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child and Family services.

It will be accompanied by a number of tools and resources to assist QATSICPP and our members to implement monitoring and evaluation frameworks and will be used to guide our ongoing engagement in evaluation going forward.

Building better evidence and outcomes 

In collaboration with a critical friend, Professor Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh from Griffith University and an internal reference group has:

  • Created principles for evaluation (mapped against current best practice) within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • Defined our cultural way of viewing evaluation, knowledge creation and sharing
  • Drafted standards that are measurable
  • Our members will be refining the evaluation framework at our annual conference

Find out more about partnership opportunities with The Centre of Excellence